Posts Tagged ‘nude’

Every so often, the Serpentine Gallery snags itself a truly interesting artist. The last one was Anthony McCall in late 2007/early 2008, whose beams of solid light shot across the dark interior as if from a film projector.

This spring, Rebecca Warren is set to draw in the crowds with her clay sculptures of naked bodies. The londonpaper today accurately described them as “lusty”. Warren depict women’s bodies as if she were a Viz cartoonist. Our attention is always drawn to particular areas (usually the boobs, or bum).

Image courtesy of Maureen Paley, London © 2009 Rebecca Warren

Rebecca Warren: Helmut Crumb (1998)

Parallels to Degas (Little Dancer Aged 14) are easily drawn, but Warren takes the tradition of sculpting the body and turns it on its head. Her clay is always rough and sharp, removing the smooth sensuality associated with marble and bronze sculptures. They are sexy, but they do not idolise. 

Recently, Charlotte Roche’s book Wetlands caused a furore because it explains, in some detail, one woman’s experience with sex, and with having hemorrhoids. Warren’s sculptures tap into this (shocking) idea of treating women as normal, sexual beings.

Read the Telegraph’s review HERE

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Rachel McCarthy, 50, mother to a grown-up daughter, once posed nude for Australian artist Ron Mueck. Her creased belly features in Tate’s permanent collection; along with the grey granny pants she wore for the job (not her choice).

Nowadays, Rachel spends most of her time campaigning for artists’ models in the UK to get better pay and working conditions. She works for the Register of Artists’ Models (RAM), which started off as five life models in a pub and now provides a global register of models, as well as jobs pages and guidelines for best practice.

According to RAM, average life modelling fees are:

  • London: £11.06 per hour
  • Rest of England: £9.77 per hour
  • Scotland: £8.48 per hour
  • Wales: £7.80

Adult education facilities are making cutbacks. Even if they’re lucky enough to be put on the payroll at a school or college, models are usually taxed at the emergency rate. They can claim this money back, but Rachel says a lot of models don’t.

Last month, French life models protested against the pittance they earn by stripping off outside the cultural department of the Paris town hall. However, effective strikes can’t be organised in Britain (or, indeed, in France) because there is no union for models. There is no cohesion. If a model puts his or her foot down over pay and the college or artist is unhappy, then that model will find themselves out of a job. Employers know there is a queue of models waiting to take their place.

Listen to what Rachel has been doing to promote better pay for models:

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